Mental Health and Job Interviews + A Hair Update.

It’s my first post of 2018, welcome back.

My first comeback post is something which I have been thinking a lot about since my most recent interview. So, you know how it is. You’re sat in a room with a person in front of you, who has a computer/tablet or maybe even a notebook in front of them, ready to note down any info they may need to remember about you. You are on your guard to not say the complete wrong thing and mess up your chance of grabbing your dream job. The topic comes up about what experience you have that can fit in the role. I note off all the experience I’ve had, ticking them off in my head and then mention something I have rarely, rarely mentioned in interviews before.

My blog. This little space on the internet. As soon as I said it, I gulped. HARD. My blog isn’t about the blogs I usually read. My blog isn’t a fashion blog or a beauty blog, sharing my latest finds and reviews. It did start out as that if you wanted to scroll down three years worth of posts, but not no more. My blog speaks MENTAL HEALTH.

Of course, when I mentioned I blogged about MH, they asked… so, how did that come about? I could feel myself sweating already and panicking. I know there is so much stigma around mental health issues when applying for jobs. Some job applications that I’ve applied for have asked: do you suffer from mental health? I mean… I may be wrong in this but, something in me tells me… surely this can deter you from getting a job.Β It shouldn’t do, but the stigma around mental health is STILL so strong. I have not once mentioned, apart from the internship/freelance position of social media/content creation I’ve been doing since August, that I suffer from Trichotillomania and Anxiety… quite strong with it too.Β 

So, after that question I could feel myself already sinking in the VERY plastic chair I was sat on trying to think of what I could say, until I literally blurted it out. “I pull my hair out and it has a name, Trichotillomania.” I was expecting the person to be like ???? I only expected this because I’ve had this reaction before. You pull your hair out? I was expecting the tens of questions after such as… Does it hurt? Why can’t you stop? You would know if you suffer with Trichotillomania the questions that can occur.

But no. This person, smiled and said… I’ve heard of it before. I’ve seen about it on a TV programme before. They also said, thank you so much for sharing with me so early on and being honest. I can’t tell you the amount of relief I felt. I was sweating waiting for their response. I honest to god thought I had messed the whole thing up.Β 

Ever since, however, I haven’t got it out of my mind. It made me feel quite weird and down when I got home. I still think that maybe I could of said it in a different way, but… I’m so proud of me, for telling a person I had only met 20 or so minutes ago, what was once my deepest and darkest secret. I’m not ashamed of having Trichotillomania. Believe me, a few years ago I was. I would never of dreamt of telling one person what it was and I would cry every night when I literally could NOT STOP PULLING. But now, I’ve accepted it as part of me. There is no cure for Trichotillomania. I will always have it for the rest of my life. It’s about time I accepted it as part of me? Don’t you think?

The biggest part of this is… I cannot help but think I’ve maybe broken some of the stigmajust a little bit? That has always been my dream. It is what I’m passionate about when it comes to MH. BREAKING THE STIGMA DOWN.Β 

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HAIR UPDATE:

As soon as I got home, I decided to do a little compare of my hair. I do this every couple of years, just to see how far I’ve come. If you have Trichotillomania you’re gonna know that it comes in waves. Sometimes it is horrendously bad other times you find yourself pulling a few times throughout the day. At the beginning of 2017 my hair was in a horrendous way and it just got worse and worse and worse all the way through the year until around, perhaps October time. It eased a little. I was so done with staying awake until 4AM pulling and pulling. Crying about why do I have this? Why me?Β 

My dream has always been to have my hair all one length. No matter the length, just to be one length and… I can proudly say… I’M ALMOST THERE. I have attached a collage of my most recently selfie at the top, compared to a graduation photo and my hair (ignore the awful blonde pic with my double chin… that is not OK, I only put it up because of my hair) from at the beginning of the year at the bottom.

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I can safely say, 2018 has to be the year I win more than Trichotillomania.Β 

Now, let’s hope I hear good news from this job… it’s my time now? Surely!

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Life as a Graduate Part One.

So… here’s my little insight for you all into the world of a recent graduate. Twelve weeks ago today, I handed in my final major project at university. Crazy! I miss the work load strangely, I miss the knowing that I was working towards something great and I miss seeing my friends almost every day as well as living with some. I also miss the independence uni gave me and how everything was so much closer to me down at uni. Since the uni days, I just feel like every day that goes by I can slowly feel my creativity slip a way a little more, or so I think it is.

I am losing my mind every day applying for six – nine jobs whilst simultaneously getting emailed replies from other companies declining job applications. Some not even giving a few hours and instantly replying saying, no chance. (I once got an email that said I don’t think this role is worth your application – great, loved that.)

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(Pic by my good friend Aisha’s dad – woo graduation day!)

Right now, I am currently in that stage of looking for a graduate job whether that be an internship that pays for at least my travel and food expenses or a junior graphic designer job.

The only thing with this is, many jobs require experience. How am I meant to get real life experience if people don’t give you the chance? That phrase real life keeps coming up. I’m over it. I do, however, have a real big issue with internships that don’t pay and especially now I’ve graduated with a decent degree. I personally feel they exploit new creatives with fresh ideas to build their company up and for what? Many of them… nothing. I know that completing at least even a week of an internship will ultimately become part of your CV. Β This way, it can count towards experience every company wants you to have, but internships could also be unpractical if you have no money – like myself. For example, for me to get to an internship in peak hours it would cost me Β£600 a month on travel only, for free work.Β 

I’ve found that the interviews I’ve been to so far have also bigged you up and make you believe you are suitable for a role and then, sadly, will see someone else for an interview and they have better experience than you. Even if that’s just a tiny bit and you’re back to square one. Who would of thought that sitting at a computer all day every day refreshing websites for potential jobs, going to interviews and then restarting the process can be mentally and of course physically exhausting.

I’m also aware that I haven’t finished uni that long ago and I also know that jobs take a while to get but I’m feeling frustrated in this job search and ultimately, lost. Let alone the massive pressure to get a job in the degree you studied the past three years and spent a fortune on. It feels like an endless cycle right now and no matter how hard I try and think… if I don’t get this job or I don’t get that reply, it’s not the right one for me… it is disheartening. I find myself feeling angry that maybe I’m not good enough for the career I want to go into and the constant declines are making me believe it more and more.

When I first got my few replies back about job interviews/phone call interviews I was excited that I posted on my social media and let those really close know. But with the constant not getting them, even though I’m trying my hardest… I’ve began not to let them know. That phrase… build your success silently is coming to my mind. Maybe if I don’t shout about these things, it will work in my favour? I don’t know… my brain is weird.

I have really and truly hit those graduate blues and I’m not sure how many more days I can sit on my sofa, refreshing job applications and watching Netflix I can take before going out my mind. I’m just so so nervous thinking I’m not good enough for my career I want to take. It’s becoming more and more believable the more I get jobs declined.

I just want a chance in this real world, I’m almost over it, already… before things have started.

 

 

 

A year on…

Today to the day something big happened. It may not seem as something big for many people but if you’re in the same boat as myself you may be able to relate. No family knows about this, apart from my dad. I didn’t tell him whilst it was happening either, I told him when it was over. A few months after. I was struggling a lot whilst down in Southampton. Being away from family gets worse when you are alone and feel so, so shit.

I spoke to a few friends and they all suggested to use the universities services they provide. After all I do pay Β£9000 a year to study there, so why not? It wasn’t the issue as such of not using their services, in fact I was all for that. It was more the feelings behind it. They suggested I went to speak to a councillor. A councillor at the end of the day is someone you can go to, to talk about anything and everything. They are there not to judge. They are there to help you get through whatever struggles you are facing.

However, at the time when I thought of councillors I thought of scary times. I’m not sure if that’s because I have been so naive to mental health in the past. I’ve only really seen counselling that happens in movies and on TV shows and lets be honest, it isn’t always positive, or maybe I was watching the wrong things. I had been brainwashed by these types of media that I was frightened to go. I had all these scenarios of what could/would happen. I genuinely had thoughts of; Is what I need help for even valid? Will they think I’m crazy? Will they think that I’m only there to ‘attention seek’? Just as a side track, claiming someone is attention seeking in my book is the worst thing someone can say to you, especially when they don’t know you or even worse if they do. If you suffer from mental health 9/10 you feel alone, even maybe 10/10. You are NOT attention seeking talking out about your problems. No way are you. In fact, you are brave. You are not only helping yourself, but you could be helping other people not feel alone. You are incredible talking out. The stigmas around mental health are SO frustrating when it comes to this.

Anyhow, I went along to my counselling meetings in the hope that the lady can help me. Help me try and get life on track. I’m not sure if it 100% worked out because I didn’t know her and I find it SO hard to open up and that’s the person I am. I even find it hard now to open up to people, to tell them what I feel, what’s going on. I know I was proud of myself for going to try it out, what harm could it of done? I did think it was the best idea for myself to stop them completely after a while.

It wasn’t until I had a moment when I thought I need to stop this. There are people I know who can help. There are. I’m being silly keeping all this inside which is slowly, but surely destroying me. It got out of control that there were nights I woke in the middle of the night with panic attacks and if you know me, even though I don’t sleep a lot whenever I do I treasure it and don’t want to be awoken by this.

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In May this year I really began to use my blog to get all this out. I had my nails done for my birthday in April and it helped me so much with Trich and I finally thought, it’s now my time to help others. I began to write about mental health. Specifically a condition which has taken up 14 years of my life and has little to no awareness about it. A condition which, whenever I write about and click the publish button on my blog, I feel good about writing – even though deep down it makes me feel ashamed. I think it’s more the awareness that I’m raising about it makes me proud. This year alone my little blog has reached 56 countries. That’s countries where people that suffer from the same thing that I have been able to help feel less alone, and there is NO greater feeling than that.

Speaking out about things is SO important and if you can, please find someone whether that be a family member you can trust, a professional like a uni tutor,a manager at work or a medical professional PLEASE talk out. I promise you, you will feel so much better.You will also be helping others, even if you don’t feel like you are. Such a great feeling.

Today I will be celebrating all that I’ve accomplished in a year of going from saying nothing to working on that everyday and getting better. You can do it too, I believe in you.